Nov. 3, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -
Despite suffering a heart-wrenching double-overtime loss to the fifth-ranked team in the nation two nights prior, Stanford men's soccer refused to languish in the doldrums as it stormed to a 4-0 away win at San Diego State Saturday.
"Tonight was a tremendous result for us," said head coach Jeremy Gunn. "It's a big test for any athlete to respond two days after such a gut-wrenching outcome [at UCLA]. I'm very proud of how our players have shown a really positive, forward-thinking attitude. We played with all of the same intensity tonight and played some great soccer and fully deserved the victory tonight."
The win brings Stanford back to .500 overall and in Pac-12 play at 8-8-1 overall and 4-4-1 (13 points) in the conference. The Cardinal visits cross-bay rival California next Friday at 1:30 p.m. for its regular-season finale. That match will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
Senior Adam Jahn scored his 10th goal of the campaign and assisted on two others to register a four-point night for the Cardinal (8-8-1, 4-4-1 Pac-12, 13 points). Zach Batteer netted his sixth goal of the season while Dersu Abolfathi and Eric Verso each bagged their second against San Diego State (7-8-3, 1-6-2 Pac-12, five points).
Goalkeepers Drew Hutchins and Jason Dodson both saw action in net as the Cardinal defense did well to clear off eight Aztec corner kicks and post its sixth clean sheet of 2012.
It took Stanford just under 13 minutes to bag the opener from the first opportunity of the game for either side. The Cardinal earned the first of its three corner kicks in the match in the 13th minute, and Batteer laid claim to his spot three yards in front of the goal where his header directed Jahn's ball in into the back of the net.
The goal served to open up the chances for either side, as San Diego State earned a corner two minutes later in which Hutchins was forced into his first action. San Diego State's Kevin Bick got his head onto Blake Wise's serve but Hutchins read it well and made his first save.
Both goalies, Hutchins for Stanford and Tim Peitsch for San Diego State, would find themselves very busy for the final 33 minutes of the half, making a combined six saves. Hutchins would turn away SDSU's Casey Meuser in the 22nd minute while Abolfathi tested Peitsch in the 25th minute and Batteer went looking for the other end of a brace in the 38th, only for the Aztec keeper to answer with a save on each occasion.
Peitsch would turn away Abolfathi once more in the 41st minute and make his final save of the half on JJ Koval's 43rd-minute header.
"We kept SDSU very quiet with chances [in the first half], we looked very solid and difficult to break down," Gunn noted. "With the early goal it allowed us to settle into the game and really control the action.
"We came out with a really positive attitude and settled into the game very, very well," Gunn added.
Looking to continue its run as the top team of the night, the Cardinal saw its second half get off to a dream start in the 49th minute. Abolfathi, who had been knocking on the door all night, finally got through as he expertly controlled a loose ball at the top of the box and cracked a 20-yarder past Peitsch and into the upper half of the net to double the Stanford lead.
The Cardinal continued to aggressively hunt for a third, as Aaron Kovar had chances over the next few minutes but had one effort blocked and another go right of the frame. San Diego State, however, would enjoy a spell of opportunity, forcing Hutchins into a save in the 63rd minute then having Wise twice fire wide left either side of a Jordan Ongaro chance.
Yet Hutchins and the Cardinal defense remained resolute, escaping one shot when Meuser headed Jose Altamirano's corner kick wide followed by Hutchins making a save against Ongaro. Three more Aztec corner kicks produced nothing over a 90-second span following Hutchins' save.
"In the second half we played well and created other good chances. They really had a go at us and really put on the pressure and we defended well, Drew made a good save and our defenders kept it at 2-0," Gunn said. "We managed to hold off the onslaught and stay composed. It gave us the openings to keep attacking."
On those counterattacks Stanford willed the momentum to its backs, and it was Jahn, the team's top scorer, getting his head on Kovar's throw-in in the 85th minute to raise his career-best season haul to 10 goals and give Stanford the third it had been searching for. The Cardinal would get its fourth about a minute and a half later, as Jahn played Verso over the top of the Aztec defense on the counter and the redshirt freshman deftly lobbed his shot home over Peitsch from 20 yards out.
"We did many great things on the evening, we looked fit, strong and sharp and we played some great attacking soccer," Gunn said. "We passed and moved the ball well, created lots of good openings and finished some great chances tonight.
"We've been playing some great soccer and now we're looking forward to the last match against Cal. We'll be excited to play again this week."